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05 December 2023

Family of missing boy was elated, then devastated by hoax


The family of an Illinois boy missing for eight years was initially elated by a report that suggested he might have been found.

Timmothy Pitzen vanished at age 6 in 2011, around the time his mother killed herself. So relatives were amazed to hear that a young man had been found wandering the streets of a Kentucky town. He told police he had been held captive for seven years and that he was Timmothy, now 14.

For a day and a half, relatives waited and hoped for a breakthrough.

Then on Thursday came devastating word from the FBI: DNA tests showed that the man was not Timmothy.

Authorities say the person making the claim was actually a 23-year-old ex-convict who was recently released from an Ohio prison.

US teen says he is boy missing for seven years

A teenager told police that he escaped from captivity on Wednesday and identified himself as a boy who has been missing for seven years, US media reported.

The 14-year-old gave his name as Timmothy Pitzen and said he had been held by two men with bodybuilder physiques at a Red Roof Inn in the Cincinnati area, according to the reports, which said that his identity has not yet been confirmed.

Pitzen was last seen with his mother in May 2011 at a water park in Wisconsin, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

Before his disappearance, Pitzen's mother had taken her son on a trip that covered over 500 miles (800 kilometers) in two days, according to CNN.

She was found dead at an Illinois motel along with a note saying her son "was safe with people who would love and care for him," the channel said.

Pitzen's grandmother, Alana Anderson, told an ABC News affiliate that she is "hopeful" that the teen is in fact her missing grandson.

"I'm very hopeful that it's him and that he's ok and he's been in a good place when he was gone and he's gonna come back to us," she was quoted as saying.